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Asuswrt-Merlin on converted TM-AC1900 : Problems, upgrade path to 384.6

rbot

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sami8519,

Nat Accel is set to Auto and showing "CTF (Cut Through Forwarding) is enabled."
 
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@rbot : try reformatting the JFFS Partition, see post #21 (remove any connected USB drives from router first)

Have you tried setting to factory defaults and starting from scratch?
 

rbot

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@jsfitz54 : I followed steps from post 21 in entirety. Reset and restored to factory default for Merlin. Problem persists. :(
 

sami8519

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@rbot I don’t know if this is could be a cause but maybe worth a try. From this thread https://slickdeals.net/f/9330575-asus-tm-ac1900-wireless-ac1900-dual-band-gigabit-router-59-free-shipping

  • Avoid CFE 1.0.2.5 from the RT-AC68P, as the newest Asus firmwares (3.0.0.4.384.20624 and later) detect this on the TM-AC1900 and revert the mod. Instead, use CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh; it was dumped from an actual RT-AC68U by user goggles99 at SNB. The CFE generator [pipeline.sh] by danielfeng has this version available”
  • I think you previously said you used the mod of ac1900P. Maybe you could try and reflash the mod mentioned above. Again don’t know if this it could be the cause but trying to help.
 

rbot

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@sami8519 Thanks, I will give that a try and see if a CFE reload will fix things up. Thanks for sharing the link as well! Looks like a lot of good info there.
 
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ClockerXP

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After reading about AIMesh, I was interested in trying it but discovered that Merlin does not support it! Is it even possible to go back to the latest Asus Firmware on my converted TMobile RT-AC68U to try out AIMesh?
 

ClockerXP

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So...just to follow up here...I followed the instructions here to make sure my TMobile RT-AC68U is always identifed as an actual Asus router. I am able to install Merlin or the latest Asus firmware without issue back and fourth. However, I noticed that the OpenVPN implementation/options on the Asus firmware are not as good as on Merlin. So, I will not be messing with AIMesh even though I have two RT-AC68Us sitting here. Would have been fun to try though...

https://lazymocha.com/blog/2018/04/16/flash-t-mobile-cellspot-tm-ac1900-to-asus-rt-ac68u-p/
 
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I own 3 Asus routers and bought a Tmobile 1900 off amazon. After jumping through hoops to get it to work (I don't even remember all the steps but it took awhile)
I have it running Merlin 384.5 no issues. I did try doing the ez standard firmware update to a newer version a few months back, it did not take after reboot it was still 384.5.

Any compelling reason to go to newer firmware? My router is actually now a RT-AC68P (1000Mhz dual core)
Do I have to go through all I did to got from 1900 to RT-AC68P was hoping just a simple firmware update via the web interface could work.
 
D

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There was a post today over on slickdeals 'cellspot' thread.

"sorry to bring up an old post but i cannot for the life of me find a way past 384.5 merlin. I haven't updated the firmware in a while and when i tried the newest 384.10 i keep getting stuck on 384.5... "

That "monkey....." person is experiencing the effects of rollback on Asus firmware.

st1ngy wrote: Merlin 384.5 and above uses the same unfriendly closed-source binaries as ASUS 384.20624 (and above). The difference is that Merlin doesn't have a rollback "feature". However, instead it just appears to go through the install but silently fails - leaving you where you started.

So Monkey is experiencing an attempt to roll him back to a cellspot but merlin won't allow it, but Merlin's won't upgrade past this version.

You see, ASUS 384.20308 was the last 'safe' firmware before these 'smart' ASUS firmware started to look for Cellspots. So as st1ngy says: Merlin 384.5 and above uses the binaries as ASUS 384.20624 (and above).

So, Monkey did not do the MTD5 commands and it is triggering his converted rt-ac68u to be a cellspot again.
The MTD5 commands (first 7) erase the Tmobile certificates, the last 2 'fill in the blanks' that make the CFE the same size and data, as a regular RT-AC68U. The last 2 is a 'precaution'.

Now then, the first 7 MTD5 commands were mentioned here in post #5. the last 2 MTD5 commands were not.
Also, as another precaution:
st1ngy wrote: while it is recommended to update the CFE to 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh, it isn't required at this time for Merlin firmware. The danger is that converted TM routers running the old 1.0.2.0 are carrying a big red-flag that could be used in future ASUS binaries to attack the router. The best way to look like a "real" 68U is to be running the same CFE. 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh

This is why there are notes of the "Steps" of the Lazymocha's Guide.
The reason the Steps were mentioned is because a lot of folks had troubles converting the cellspot to 68U. But also, Lazymocha's Guide does not tell you that you have to be on firmware 384.xxxxx to do the last 2 MTD5 commands. ( it shows the commands, but fails to mention this requirement on the last 2 commands).







Might as well just post the Wiki here:

You can flash this router to an RT-AC68U: There are few change/additions needed in the guide before the latest ASUS firmware can be flashed. You MUST read this Community Wiki below, on steps of Lazymocha's Guide.

Advice:
  • Avoid CFE 1.0.2.5 from the RT-AC68P, as the newest Asus firmwares (3.0.0.4.384.20624 and later) have performance issues using it when running on a converted TM-AC1900. Instead, use the most current CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh as it is not only for AiMesh.; it was dumped from an actual RT-AC68U by user goggles99 at SNB. The CFE generator by danielfeng has this version available.
    IF need, link to ASUS RT-AC68U Router Firmware 3.0.0.4.384.20308 (which is MD5 0eebcaebee656d3d882f6fcb40bf2697, if you are curious for its authenticity) ASUS removed this firmware as it is the last safest firmware for the converted cellspots without doing the MTD5 commands discussed below.
  • Some TM-AC1900 ship with a firmware version that allows SSH access. If you get one of these, you can skip steps 5-10 of the guide. To check if you have SSH available, go to Administration > System in the router configuration interface. If your firmware permits SSH, there will be a setting to Enable SSH. If so, choose Yes, then Apply. Move on to step 11.
  • The T-Mobile certificates have to be wiped from the mtd5 partition. This can be done after all of the steps in the guide have been completed, but must be done before any newer version of ASUS firmware is flashed. As of this writing, the firmware included in the Lazymocha's Guide is 3.0.0.4.376.3626, so the steps below should be performed when this version is running on your router.
PC Instructions: Lazymoca's Guide
(I removed the Bayarea guide link, you will get it from Lazymocha's Guide. But the site is wrong about the MTD5 commands. The comments repeat. I found it best to keep Lazymocha's up)
Mac Instructions - Here (remember, 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh, he chooses the wrong one in the video).

A brief explanation of what you are achieving in the Guide to change your T-Mobile RT-AC1900 to RT-AC68U.

The Cellspots usually come with firmware 3199 that hides features (SSH and Telnet) in the settings of the router.
SSH feature needs to be turned on to do steps of the guide.
If it is not available to turn on, in order to turn them on, a different older T-Mobile firmware needs to be installed.

The achievements for the entire Guide are as follows:
1. Install firmware 376.1703 to enable SSH
2. Replace CFE (taking out old, updating, installing new)
3. Install firmware 376.3626 to expand jffs (mtd4) to 64MB
4. Clean-up mtd5
*As a bonus there is an extra 2 mtd5 commands to run when on firmware 384.20308.
That is it! 4 achievements to accomplish, then you can install updated Firmware.

Between these achievements are preparations to be done. That is why the guide has 24+ steps in it.
Above is Advice with some links for downloads, below are Guide Tips and notes for tough Steps of the guide.
In this "Community Wiki" is talk about the 'Steps' of the Guide(s) to help you do these achievements.

It is important you follow the guide and the steps correctly. The first achievement is the toughest part of the entire guide. Pay attention closely. If you are stuck on a Step, read the Community Wiki.
If things get bad for you, just walk away don't skip any 'Steps', don't decide to go out of the steps. Just ask your questions and people will help you.

----

The Lazymocha Guide steps discussed below.

Guide Tips:

Step 1, 2, 3
Download files from Step 1, and Step 3, but also download firmware 3.0.0.4.384.20308.


NOTE: If you already converted to an RT-AC68U in the past, and you want the new version of RT-AC68U with AiMesh (you want to update it), you don't have to use your origional_cfe.bin.
Just skip Steps 4+ and go to Step 11, continue from there. (You will need Step 1,2,3 and 384.20308 firmware from above)

*Disconnect from the internet now*

Step 4
Set static IP for PC. See photo on the left, bottom of this page HERE
Make sure your PC/Laptop WiFi is off. You should be disconnected from the internet.
Connect this NEW router to the PC. (1 of the 4 yellow ports) Do not connect into the blue port.
Work offline until Step 15. Remember there are preparations steps for each achievement, so pay attention.

Lets now try to manually install firmware 376.1703 from logging into the router.. in your browser, type in 192.168.29.1
Username: Admin
Password: Password
Find the firmware version top of the page and click on it.. Find the downloaded firmware from Step 3 above, (make sure it is unzipped).. and manually install it to the router.
You might get lucky and it installs.. it depends on what version firmware your router came with. IF it does, move to Step 8.. if not, continue below

Step 6 & 7
Mini-CFE webpage
If you are having problems accessing the mini-CFE webserver see if this works:
  1. Power off the router using the power button
  2. Set your PC's IP as explained in Step 4
  3. Navigate to 192.168.29.1 using your browser -- the browser continue to try and access the page until it is available
  4. Press and hold the reset button while powering-on the router
  5. When the mini-CFE webpage appears on the browser, release the reset button
  6. As long as the browser status is still spinning -- looking for a webpage. If it stops refresh the page -- the mini CFE web page will load.
Some have said to keep holding the reset button down for 10 seconds after you start to load the firmware.
So, browser searching status spinning for 192.168.29.1- holding reset, power on router - if browser spins, the mini-CFE opens and you click firmware - keep holding reset for 10 seconds while firmware uploads.. let go reset.
Don't waste any time finding that firmware to load to mini-CFE as that web browser must be searching trying to connect to 192.168.29.1. If browser gives up searching (stops spinning) you have to click refresh.. it can stop the process. That is why ping is mentioned on some guides.
It helps to tape on a 'zip tie end' on top of the reset button so it's easy to press, you have a few things to do at once during this one step.

If this doesn't work,
Try Google Chrome incognito mode.
Some mention to turn on AP mode in the router then try.



If accessing the mini-CFE webserver doesn't work at all for you...
You are experiencing the effects of a locked firmware...
You have to change Guides.

[/I] " Directions for rolling back to AC68 after AC1900 rollback: " Direct Google Docs Link. We call this the Google Doc. Guide. You can download it here

What is wrong with the T-Mobile 3199 firmware
The Cellspots are USUALLY now shipped out with firmware 3199, that makes it harder for you to downgrade that firmware. Sometimes you get lucky with the above steps, sometimes you don't.
This is also caused if you have a converted a Cellspot -TM-AC1900 to RT-AC68U, that did not do the MTD5 commands, and attempted to do a firmware update past 3.0.0.4.384.20308.

Why is my converted Cellspot rolled back to 3199
Those that changed a Cellspot to RT-AC68U in the past might experience this because the ASUS Firmware 3.0.0.4.384.20624 and newer is a 'smart firmware' that identifies converted Cellspots and revert them back to a T-Mobile Cellspots with T-Mobile firmware- 3199. (You could say ASUS put in a virus/trojan to sniff out Cellspots)

To stop this from happening, you must complete the guide and do the MTD5 commands to make your router immune to this 'ASUS type smart firmware'.
IF you don't do these MTD5 commands, the safest highest version of firmware you can use of ASUS's is 384.20308.
The first MTD5 commands erases T-Mobile certificates and solves this issue.
The last 2 MTD5 commands fills in that missing area to the regular size of the normal RT-AC68U.

IF you need to use this Google Doc. Guide,I recommend using the (No CFE USB Instructions). IF you still have your old 'original_cfe.bin' from converting THIS router in the past (not one from another router), then you can use the (USB Instructions).

IF you had success on Step 7 above, continue with the Lazymocha's Guide under the Google Doc Guide chat - Steps 1 - 5 below.

-----
- For those that could not get past Step 7 above, we now talk about The Google Doc. Guide. Download here

Changing Guides to The Google Doc. Guide, (NO CFE USB Instructions)

Google Doc. Guide discussion now:
The router must be connected to the internet for this to work
  • Step 1 You need a formatted (completely empty) USB thumbdrive. You need to right click - rename it to: USB
  • Step 2 When doing step 2, you need to get the firmware file: TM-AC1900_3.0.0.4_376_1703-g0ffdbba.trx and rename it to: firmware1703.trx
    Copy the firmware file to your thumbdrive called: USB
    The file you need can be found in Step 3 on the Lazymocha Guide (Which you should already have)
  • Step 3 This explains how to use the Google Doc. Guide.. the commands.To help you, there are some photos I found to show you how and where you put the commands when using this Direct Google Docs Link. (Thank you Sploit).
    The photos can be seen at the bottom of this post.
  • Step 4 Plug in the thumbdrive to the routers USB 2.0 port and look in the Router page for USB thumbdrive.. check it is showing 'USB' for a name.
  • Step 5 Run the commands as shown in the pictures. When it says 'wait before doing the next command'. Wait.
- Google Doc. Guide is complete. Make sure you did your 'reset NVRAM' which is Step 20 of Lazymocha Guide.
Start at Step 9 over on there guide.

END of Google Doc. Guide discussion
----

........Lazymocha's Guide discussion and Steps continued below.

Step 8
After flashing "TM-AC1900_3.0.0.4_376_1703-g0ffdbba.trx" and rebooting, the NVRAM *must* be reset (Step 20).
NOTE: IF holding WPS seems to not work, try holding WPS for 20 seconds instead of waiting for the power led to flash.

Another way is the command: nvram erase

Step 11
Open Putty and WinSCP. In WinSCP select SCP as file protocol, in Putty select SSH - See Putty SSH photo, bottom of this page HERE
After you connect to the router in Putty, another window opens (if asked, click yes yes yes). It will ask for the user name and password of the router. Username will be visible, password wont. Hit enter after each.

Step 12

In putty type:
cat /dev/mtd0 > original_cfe.bin

Step 13
In WinSCP refresh the window on the right side and note that original_cfe.bin is present

Step 14
Copy original_cfe.bin to a local drive (to keep for future use-always keep this)

Step 15
You must go on the internet now to upload your original_cfe.bin HERE
Chose 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh
When getting the CFE downloaded from the website, don't forget to rename the downloaded CFE to:
new_cfe.bin
Get back off the internet when you are finished doing Step 15.

Steps 16
"Upload" Copy and paste the new_cfe.bin and mtd-write and FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx into WinSCP, next to your original_cfe.bin. All 4 files should be in there.

Steps 17-19:
Install new_cfe.bin and mtd-write and FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx from WinSCP using commands:

The green text should appear in Putty after issuing the three commands.
Code:
/tmp/home/root# chmod u+x mtd-write
/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-write new_cfe.bin boot
/tmp/home/root# mtd-write2 FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx linux
[B][COLOR=green]linux: CRC OK[/COLOR][/B]
/tmp/home/root#
Step 20 clear NVRAM: After the CRC OK green text, clear NVRAM
  • Perform NVRAM Reset.
    a. Power off router
    b. Wait 10 seconds
    c. Press and hold WPS button
    d. Power up the router and continue to hold WPS button for 20 seconds - power LED starts blinking very quickly - keep holding for that 20 seconds.
    e. Release WPS button and wait for router to fully boot ~ 5 mins
If the Model number remains TM-AC1900: After doing Step 20, and you still don't see "RT-AC68U", this was due to a mistake in Steps 16 -19.
Check the spelling of the code and re-naming of the CFE:
origional_cfe.bin to the CFE generator (choosing 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh), correctly re-naming the received CFE "new_1.0.2.0_am.bin"
to
new_cfe.bin
Make sure all those 3 files new_cfe.bin and mtd-write and FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx are in WinSCP next to original_cfe.bin.
(If doing Steps 17-19 again, make sure you then do Step 20) You should now see "RT-AC68U"
IF it still isn't clearing NVRAM, in Putty type this command:
Code:
nvram erase

Step 23 Wiping T-Mobile certificates from the MTD5 partition
(this is entered in Putty after enabling SSH on the router)

These instructions originally existed on SNB before that forum thread was shut down. Credit to XVortex and rdallen. After you've performed these steps, you can flash above Firmware version 3.0.0.4.384.20308 and newer using the GUI.

Code:
# Backup MTD5 (dd produces identical bin)
cat /dev/mtd5 > /jffs/mtd5_backup.bin

# Copy mtd5_backup.bin from router using scp
# From host: scp admin@192.168.1.1:/jffs/mtd5_backup.bin ./

# Mount MTD5
mkdir /tmp/asus_jffs
mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs

# Copy mtd5 files from router using scp
# From host: scp admin@192.168.1.1:/tmp/asus_jffs/* ./

# Wipe mtd5 files and reboot
rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/*
sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs
rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U
nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot
Those 7 MTD5 commands look like this:
If following the Lazymocha's Guide, you will be on Firmware version 3004.376.3626 during this step Step 23.
(Remember, the first command below, is only if you want a backup) cat /dev/mtd5 > /jffs/mtd5_backup.bin

Code:
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# cat /dev/mtd5 > /jffs/mtd5_backup.bin
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mkdir /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/*
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot
The last 2 MTD5 commands:
In order to do the last 2 MTD5 commands you must be on Firmware 384.xxxxx or higher. 3.0.0.4.384.20308 (preferred because it is just before the virus) or the command will not be effective.
Remember, every time you update firmware, reset NVRAM Step 20. Enable SSH, then do the last 2 commands below.

Writing all FFs to the mtd5, the "Erasing" text should appear in Putty after issuing the two commands.
Code:
/tmp/home/root# ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-erase -d asus
Erasing 0x0 - 0x1ffff
Erasing 0x20000 - 0x3ffff
Erasing 0x40000 - 0x5ffff
Erasing 0x60000 - 0x7ffff
Erasing 0x80000 - 0x9ffff
Erasing 0xa0000 - 0xbffff
Erasing 0xc0000 - 0xdffff
Erasing 0xeffff - 0xfffff
Erasing 0x100000 - 0x11ffff
Erasing 0x120000 - 0x13ffff
"asus" successfully erased.
/tmp/home/root#
You may now upgrade to the latest ASUS firmware (I suggest every firmware install be manually uploaded, and off the internet.)
ASUS RT-AC68U firmware downloads
Merlin found HERE
Don't forget to reset NVRAM after firmware installs.
Put the new_cfe.bin and original_cfe.bin and firmwares in the folder 'router' and save for future work in case you need them.


-------------------------------------Well, a big congratulations are in order!! You now have an RT-AC68U------------------------------------------------
(guide updated 1/31/19)

-----
A guide on the Internet connectivity during the process of the Lazymocha's Guide.
This tells you when to connect/disconnect the PC from the Internet and old router to new router.

Assuming you are using a single PC to do the flashing:
  • You are connected to the Internet via your old router in Steps 1-3.
  • Then you disconnect from old router, "Set static IP for PC" (as in Step 4) connect to the new router in Steps 4-14 (no Internet).
  • Now you disconnect from new router, "Reset PC IP back to default" (as in Step 21), reconnect to your old router to get on the Internet, and do Step 15.
  • Then you disconnect from old router, "Set static IP for PC" (as in Step 4) connect to the new router for Steps 16-20 (no Internet). From now on, your PC can stay connected to the new router.
  • Step 21 "Reset PC IP back to default" Continue with Step 22-23 (no Internet).
  • In Step 24, you can connect the new router to your Internet modem. After a normal configuration, your PC should connect to the Internet now via the new router.
  • Flash your desired/updated/newest firmware to the router via a manual upload on the router's Firmware Update screen. Then do Step 20 again.
Assuming you are using 2 PC's to do the flashing, and the above is complicated:
  • If you are using 2 PC's follow Lazymocha's Guide. Use the separate PC to get step 1 and 3 downloads onto a thumbdrive, and transfer it to the (off Internet PC working on the new router).
    On step 14, thumbdrive the origional_cfe.bin from the offline PC - to the online PC, do Step 15, rename the CFE and transfer the new_cfe.bin to the (offline PC) again via thumbdrive.
    Finish the work. Once you are past Step 23, you can go on the internet with the new router.
-----
Having Trouble Getting a AiMesh Node to connect to your main AiMesh router? (confirmed working on firmware 3.0.0.4.384.32799) then follow this tutorial from vboyz103 (Click me to go to his original post or read below)

Having issue with intermittent wireless connection running latest firmware (3.0.0.4.384_45149)?

Try this.
In Wifi Professional for 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz:
Disable Roaming Assistance; Airtime fairness; and both types of Beamforming (click Apply for each band).
If you see improvement, enable Roaming Assistance but lower the threshold to about -75. This needs to be fine tuned for each environment and band.
You might also play with Bluetooth coexistence. BTW, do you have USB3 devices connected? If so, set USB3 to USB2 mode. It can interfere with 2.4GHz.
If anything makes an improvement, you might try enabling other settings to narrow-down exactly which is the problem.
~ST1NGY

Please note:
Before commenting below in the comment section... make sure your line signal is good with the Modem.
Make sure you don't have drop outs, signal loss, T3 or T4 timeouts. Look in your Modem logs and check signal strength. Call your ISP for any issues.
Please, trouble shoot this first, and make sure you did all the steps on this Guide...before commenting below.
-----
If you feel the need to change clock speeds
(Not necessary for conversion from cellspot to RT-AC68U)

After completing the above steps to convert your router to RT-AC68U using CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh, you may notice the CFE defaults to clkfreq=800,666 and will revert to default after reboot if overclocked.
To make the overclock stick, follow these steps from the whirlpool forum:

To manually set the clkfreq the following SSH commands can be used which allow the clkfreq to survive a device reboot:

nvram set asuscfeclkfreq=1000,800 && nvram set asuscfecommit=1
nvram set clkfreq=1000,800
nvram commit && reboot

People have reported using the following clock speeds: 800,666, 1000/666, 1000/800, 1200/800, or 1400/800

-----
If you want to check temps

Enable Telnet in router.
Putty telnet. Click the picture bottom of. this post
CPU temperature, (Code from 'RMerlin'):
Code:
cat /proc/dmu/temperature
For the radio temperature, it's more complicated.
Code:
wl -i eth1 phy_tempsense
wl -i eth2 phy_tempsense
The result of the radio temperature must be divided by two, then add 20 to the result.

-----
To check if your on CFE 1.0.2.0 or CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh
As you notice, doing this Code (found from years ago):
Code:
nvram get bl_version
It just says 1.0.2.0 not anything about AiMesh.

To check Version verification, Putty Telnet into Router. Click the picture bottom of. this post
(Code and quote from 'st1ngy')
Code:
strings /dev/mtd0 | grep odmpid
"If it returns "odmpid=RT-AC68U" odds are high you have installed the correct one(1.0.2.0 US AiMesh).
If is says "odmpid=ASUS", that's the non-AiMesh one."

-----
How do I double check the MTD5 signature
Do you think you didn't do the MTD5 commands correctly
Lazymocha's Guide doesn't explain to do the last two MTD5 commands on firmware 384.xxxxx (preferably 384.20308).
If you didn't read correctly about the MTD5 command step above, you might not have had the last 2 MTD5 commands effectively done.

To check this, once again, putty in and do the following command:
Code:
strings /dev/mtd5
A "real" RT-AC68U has absolutely nothing in /dev/mtd5 except it is filled with 0xff. You should see no result for the command output.(seen in green)
Code:
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# strings /dev/mtd5
[COLOR=green]admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# [/COLOR]
If you do see some misc strings, there's something in mtd5 and you should execute the commands to wipe it when on firmware Version 384.xxxxx
Code:
/tmp/home/root# ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-erase -d asus
-----

Some discussion has moved to this thread on whirlpool and here.

A thanks to various people creating that information to the steps of the 'Lazymocha's Guide' which ironically goes back partially to Slickdeals , snbforums, whirlpool.

I came here because....

A person (monkey.....) over on another thread "cellspot" over on Slickdeals mentioned yesterday:

"Sorry to bring up an old post but I cannot for the life of me find a way past 384.5 merlin. I haven't updated the firmware in a while and when i tried the newest 384.10 i keep getting stuck on 384.5... cannot downgrade or upgrade firmware now... How did you update your merlin firmware? "

(assuming you own the router....)


'red-flag' #1
T-Mobile certificates:
- triggered by 'smart firmware'...

ASUS firmware 384.20308 was the last safe firmware before the introduction of ASUS 'smart firmware'.
ASUS firmware 384.20624 and above hunt for t-mobile certificates and anything 'out of the ordinary' that is not a RT-AC68U.
Merlin is made off of Asus firmware.

-quote from st1ngy:
"Merlin 384.5 and above uses the same TM-unfriendly closed-source binaries as ASUS 384.20624 (and above). The difference is that Merlin doesn't have a rollback "feature". However, instead it just appears to go through the install but silently fails - leaving you where you started."

So, 'monkey....' did not remove the t-mo certificates doing the first 6 MTD5 commands as shown in post #5. Monkey... got lucky he did not try to upgrade ASUS firmware to newer ASUS firmware or he would have been a Cellspot again because ASUS has the rollback feature!
After reading some current and old posts I decided to try the section that said YOU MUST UPDATE THE MD5 Partition.
(Take note OP, it is MTD5 not MD5) respectively speaking!
Code:
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mkdir /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/*
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot
Since this was not done, monkey....'s router was not upgrading, it was trying to trigger a roll back to a Cellspot.


Note: there are 2 more MTD5 commands that fill in the gap of the now missing space in the CFE (the same as a regular RT-AC68U CFE)

BUT, these last two commands need to be done on firmware 384. I noticed people talking about Lazymocha's guide (which is an excellent guide) but does not mention the fact the last 2 MTD5 commands must be on firmware 384.xxxxx in order for them to work.
Lazymocha's Guide tells you to do MTD5 commands after you have installed firmware version 376.3626 . The first 7 seven MTD5 commands are done on 376.3626 (the first command over there is a 'back up' command and not part of the commands listed in comment #5 above).
This is discussed over on Slickdeals, "Community Wiki" it is noted to do this on the last safe firmware 384.20308 (for safe measure)..but has been reported to work on over that version. ( but not sure if the current ASUS Firmware Version 3.0.0.4.384.45708 released 2019/03/29 is safe to do the last 2 commands on) .. a link for the 384.20308 can be found over on Slickdeals searching for 'cellspot'. (you'll find it). This version has been removed from ASUS firmware list .. any none 'smart firmware' has been removed from ASUS website. .. but you can find it.
Code:
/tmp/home/root# ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-erase -d asus

'red-flag' #2
CFE

st1ngy wrote: "
while it is recommended to update the CFE to 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh, it isn't required at this time for Merlin firmware. The danger is that converted TM routers running the old 1.0.2.0 are carrying a big red-flag that could be used in future ASUS binaries to attack the router. The best way to look like a "real" 68U is to be running the same CFE."
The current RT-AC68U uses 1.0.2.0.US AiMesh.
CFE 1.0.2.5 (which converts to 1.0.2.9) is for RT-AC68P (a different model with different radio's).
People used this firmware to Overclock there router in the past, but now it has been reported to cause issues with these newer firmware versions.

Just a note, CFE Editor: as stated in Lazymocha's Guide, there is a website that converts the CFE for you.
Don't chose a different TX Power in the CFE webpage. The FCC has put restrictions on adjusting TX power.. so keep it in the normal or that will be another 'red-flag'.

Remember, every time you upgrade firmware... you should
1) upgrade manually off the internet
2) clear NVRAM (this will erase any custom settings, wifi password/ssid and router admin/password.. all back to factory)
Doing NVRAM Reset will make sure the old firmware will not be mixed in with the new firmware that CAN cause issues if not done.
  • Perform NVRAM Reset.
    a. Power off router
    b. Wait 10 seconds
    c. Press and hold WPS button
    d. Power up the router and continue to hold WPS button for 20 seconds - power LED starts blinking very quickly - keep holding for that 20 seconds.
    e. Release WPS button and wait for router to fully boot ~ 5 mins
So to be on the safe side, 2 precautions... the last 2 MTD5 Commands, and the proper CFE choice.
 
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A person (monkey.....) over on another thread "cellspot" over on Slickdeals mentioned yesterday:

"Sorry to bring up an old post but I cannot for the life of me find a way past 384.5 merlin. I haven't updated the firmware in a while and when i tried the newest 384.10 i keep getting stuck on 384.5... cannot downgrade or upgrade firmware now... How did you update your merlin firmware? "

'red-flag' #1
T-Mobile certificates:
- triggered by 'smart firmware'...
In short you are trying to tell me that I must Followed posts #5 and #13 in order to move past version 384.5 and be able to update it like via the user interface?

You are assuming that when I first did my update I did not remove T-Mobile certificates?

I think in future I'll stick with pure asus routers and not some hacked crippled T-mobile BS.
 
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Are you "monkey..." from Slickdeals?

Look inside the top left vent on the back (use a flashlight).. what do you see printed on the motherboard of that
?
Well the fact that Merlin is staying away from T-mobile is telling. I never had to jump through such hoops to get any other asus router going.

The Tmobile 1900s are just a good bang for the buck but requires quite a bit of time updating them. I like EZ so in the future will buy asus routers without built in firmware which prevents easy updates via the web interface. In a nutshell no more Tmobile stuff.
 
D

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Well the fact that Merlin is staying away from T-mobile is telling. I never had to jump through such hoops to get any other asus router going.

The Tmobile 1900s are just a good bang for the buck but requires quite a bit of time updating them. I like EZ so in the future will buy asus routers without built in firmware which prevents easy updates via the web interface. In a nutshell no more Tmobile stuff.
I don't understand, why are you even replying to a thread "
Asuswrt-Merlin on converted TM-AC1900 : Problems, upgrade path to 384.6
"

You didn't do anything I said.
You didn't answer my question.
Honestly, your just tr*lling.
 
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I own a Tmobile 1900 router that I was able to upgrade to Merlin 384.5 but not past that. This thread had information on how people were able to move past that version. I was seeing what they had to do. I never said what I did to get it there so not sure how you know what I did or did not do.

Maybe this is not the correct thread for that.

Are you "monkey..." from Slickdeals?

Look inside the top left vent on the back (use a flashlight).. what do you see printed on the motherboard of that
?
Oh you were serious?

- Monkey? No I am not who ever that is.
- Vent - can see nothing legible only that its a turquis motherboard
- ? - That was about Merlin talking about the firmware that asus put in for Tmobile

It seems to work ok with 384.5 I would like to get to a version that I could just update via the flash menu and not do all this putty stuff every time a new version comes up.

The post #13 worked great with my TM-AC1900 (AC68U) upgrade from 384.5 Merlin to new 384.7 version. Thanks.
Below the Tutorial:

Upgrade Asus AC-68U (real TM-AC1900) from 384.5 to newest version:

1) Enable SSH Connection (Administration -> system -> Enable SSH -> Lan Only -> Allow SSH Port Forwarding -> Yes

2) Open SSH ( if you use macOS , then use app telnet lite -> download MacOS App Store)
set new connection: 192.168.x.x (router ip), username and password. Set Use SSH2 (port 22).

Commands:
==========
mkdir /tmp/asus_jffs [enter]
mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs [enter]
rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/* [enter]
sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs [enter]
rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U [enter]
nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot [enter]

Wait for reboot.

3) Upgrade via GUI with new firmware. (download from https://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/download )
A huge thanks to you, asfffsdf13rfa and jsfitz54.

My T-mobile was stuck on 384.5 I could not flash to 384.72 after trying it would just revert to 384.5.

I followed your updated steps from putty and was able to flash to 384.72 and without a manual reboot I flashed to 384.10_0 (the latest as of April 1 2019)

I was connected to the internet during this and did not even lose my configuration settings.

It all seems to be working fine. I did a speed test to make sure my speeds were decent.
speedtest.JPG

Something was not quite right with 384.5 the traffic analyzer did not work correctly and if I turned off NAT acceleration to get it to work my internet speeds dropped to under 100Mbit (from 300Mbit). Now It works and I have my speed. Also the interface seems to respond much faster. Very happy with the update.

Thanks again!

CFE (bootloader) used? anything other than 1.0.2.0 may cause issues.
I have CFE 1.0.2.9 and did not have any issues. FWIW.
 
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Thanks, I think I followed a similar guide getting it from Tmobile to 384.5. It took quite a few reboots updates, making CFE file using a webpage etc. Felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants as I'd never done it before.

The wifi still is not as good as my comcast router. I get 300Mbit/sec on comcast wifi 5Ghz but only 120ish on the asus 5Ghz. Good enough but not sure why its slower. I set the band to 20Mhz which helped a little.
 
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Thank you :) That quote is pieces from the newer Slickdeals Cellspot "Community Wiki" (A combination of sources from various users,including myself) which I posted.
I am User17347427 a Mod changed my name from Hawbgobblin.


I own a Tmobile 1900 router that I was able to upgrade to Merlin 384.5 but not past that. This thread had information on how people were able to move past that version. I was seeing what they had to do. I never said what I did to get it there so not sure how you know what I did or did not do.
If you were able to get Merlin on the Tmobile, you did the 'guide' to change a Cellspot to RT-AC68U.
During the steps of the 'conversion', you knew how to use SSH/Telnet and Putty.
That is why I didn't mention how to use Putty in post #40.
Sorry I didn't.

Knowing what you did, and what you didn't, is simple.
I deal with these issues daily over on the Slickdeals site. It is all related to (The UPDATED Guide) of the 'new procedure' to the conversion (which you did not know because you couldn't get past a certain version of Merlin ...hence this thread).

Oh you were serious?
YES

- Monkey? No I am not who ever that is.
"A person (monkey.....) over on another thread "cellspot" over on Slickdeals mentioned yesterday:" His full name is "monkey*ss408" ( note ' * ' ) That is why I didn't type it in full.. and referred to him as "monkey...."

- Vent - can see nothing legible only that its a turquoise motherboard
Is related to your comment:

I think in future I'll stick with pure asus routers and not some hacked crippled T-mobile BS.
/whispers the motherboard says "RT-AC68U"
/wink*

Ironically:
It all seems to be working fine. I did a speed test to make sure my speeds were decent.
(298 down/24 up)
Not bad for a "hacked crippled T-Mobile BS"

I have CFE 1.0.2.9 and did not have any issues.
By the way, why are you using a CFE for an RT-AC68P (1.0.2.5 -> 1.0.2.9 ) in an RT-AC68U motherboard/router?
I remember some folks mentioning they NEEDED to install 1.0.2.5 CFE to get Merlin to work... But I never believed that.. it was just a way to overclock the router if I remember correctly. There are other ways to overclock the router and use the 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh CFE, just by putting commands in Putty.
People don't mention any issue on Merlin with CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh.

st1ngy wrote:
"while it is recommended to update the CFE to 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh, it isn't required at this time for Merlin firmware. The danger is that converted TM routers running the old 1.0.2.0 are carrying a big red-flag that could be used in future ASUS binaries to attack the router. The best way to look like a "real" 68U is to be running the same CFE."

BUT People have mentioned issues using 68P CFE in a 68U.
 
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Thanks, I think I followed a similar guide getting it from Tmobile to 384.5. It took quite a few reboots updates, making CFE file using a webpage etc. Felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants as I'd never done it before.

The wifi still is not as good as my comcast router. I get 300Mbit/sec on comcast wifi 5Ghz but only 120ish on the asus 5Ghz. Good enough but not sure why its slower. I set the band to 20Mhz which helped a little.
Have you done the nvram reset and reprogrammed from scratch...(no saved settings of any kind)?
 
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Today I found out there is a second VARIANT Model TM-1900P. (that maybe harder to circumvent)
https://www.snbforums.com/threads/rt-ac68u-rt-ac68p-rt-ac1900-rt-ac1900p.35759/


Tim is doing an about face by removing all the history. It's one thing to stop going forward due to a change with ASUS.
It's akin to burning books.
Also, it has been in the support list for a long time. The guts of the 1900 as you well know are the 68. As such is has always been cross referenced in the Downloads and Support section as an RT-AC1900. https://sourceforge.net/projects/asuswrt-merlin/files/RT-AC1900/


The TM- designation is superfluous to the argument.
There is 1 TM-1900 in that list.
The other "1900's" were RT's not TM's.
One was a white box from Walmart (which I bought)... and it was a blem (not the correct 'fatter' antennas as seen on the box/regular RT-AC68U thin ones instead)
Other was a BestBuy version only.
Other "U" I have no idea...Amazon maybe

As you notice, the radio chips are a different number on these in that list. For example, the 'white box' Walmart one (at the time of the FCC crackdown vs ASUS) was not able to do 3rd party firmware installs. *Notice it doesn't even list a chip number.
 
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Have you done the nvram reset and reprogrammed from scratch...(no saved settings of any kind)?
I went to Administration - Restore/Save/Upload Setting and did a restore with the box checked to init all settings and clear data log. When it came up with was like a new router no settings.

Everything works just the wifi is not as fast as my infinity router by about a factor of 2x. 300Mbit vs 120Mbit or so. Maybe its all it can do on wifi not sure. Its good enough.

By the way, why are you using a CFE for an RT-AC68P (1.0.2.5 -> 1.0.2.9 ) in an RT-AC68U motherboard/router?
I remember some folks mentioning they NEEDED to install 1.0.2.5 CFE to get Merlin to work... But I never believed that.. it was just a way to overclock the router if I remember correctly. There are other ways to overclock the router and use the 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh CFE, just by putting commands in Putty.
People don't mention any issue on Merlin with CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh.

st1ngy wrote:
"while it is recommended to update the CFE to 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh, it isn't required at this time for Merlin firmware. The danger is that converted TM routers running the old 1.0.2.0 are carrying a big red-flag that could be used in future ASUS binaries to attack the router. The best way to look like a "real" 68U is to be running the same CFE."

BUT People have mentioned issues using 68P CFE in a 68U.
I had no clue what I had, I bought it off Amazon like a year ago. I found a guide that had a step by step. I barely remember doing all the steps but I think mine ended up being a 68P because of its cpu was a dual core 1000Mhz and the 68U is a 800 Mhz dual core otherwise they are pretty much the same router. RT-AC68P: Also known as RT-AC68U V2, since it is a bug fix version of AC68U, with the CPU changed to ARM dual core BCM4709 @ 1GHz.

Its a bit hazy on that but I think that is why.

I found this note in my docs folder. Took my 5 firmwares to get it to 384.4.2.
============================================================================
Stock Tmobile firmware does not have SSH so have to down grade it to one that does.

Tmobile to old Tmobile firmware but cant use web update tool have to put it in recovery mode
and use a CFE web interface. Not sure why.

Tmobile original:
to
recover console to older Tmobile firmware that has SSH
to
using putty and winscp to log onto router
copy its cfe.bin file and upload it to a web site that somehow creates a new one and you download it.
But I did not really know my true model till my flash got a error. Turns out I have a newer one
68P which has upgraded hardware. and 2x size of bin file.


Then copy new bin, mtd-write program, and a real AC68 firmware.
Do some linux commands to get the new bin file to boot
and you get firmware number 4 on the router.
Not done.
5th firmware and last is the Merlin.

Took like an hour.

TM-AC1900 3.0.0.4.376_3199
TM-AC1900_3.0.0.4_376_1703-g0ffdbba.trx
RT-AC68u FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626
RT-AC68p 3.0.0.4.376_3626
Merlin 384.4.2
 
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